Relic Expedition: Variants

Relic Expedition is a very modular game, lending itself nicely to small expansions and house rules. We have included here a list of some of our most popular variants. Please share with us your favorites, either on BoardGameGeek or through email.

Relic Expedition (Base Game)

No Animals in Quicksand

In Relic Expedition, animals can be moved to a quicksand tile and immediately removed from the game. Once all players are comfortable managing their backpacks, this movement can be eliminated so that animals are not allowed to be moved to quicksand tiles.

Always 3 Actions

The random number of actions gives Relic Expedition tension, drama, and — for some — a little too much randomness. In this popular variant, all players receive 3 actions each turn. Roll only the animal die; do not roll the numbered action die.

Machete Kills Snake

There is intentionally no killing in Relic Expedition, but many people have requested the ability to kill snakes with a machete. In this variant, a machete can be used in an encounter with a snake: the machete and the snake are both immediately removed from the game.

Villages & Markets Expansion

The official rules for Villages & Markets direct you to use all four village tiles and all four market tiles. The game works perfectly well with one or the other. (It is also nice to combine these with some of the components from the Adventurers expansion; see our recommendations near the bottom of the page.)

Markets Only

  • Remove the two vine tiles from the base game starting tiles.
  • Mix the 4 Market tiles in with the 96 stack tiles.
  • Setup the eight market supplies.
  • Leave all the base relic tables in the game.
  • Do not add the four Village tiles to the stack.

Villages Only

  • Remove any four relic tables without a monkey symbol from the base game stack tiles.
  • Mix the 4 Village tiles in with the remaining 92 stack tiles.
  • Leave all the base game starting tiles in the game; do not remove the vines.
  • Do not add the four Village tiles to the stack.
  • Do not setup the eight market supplies.

Missions Expansion

Kickstarter backers at the EXPLORER level received a number of bonus components with their Missions expansion. These components can be used to make the Missions a bit tougher to complete.

Mask Relics (2 or 3 Players)

Follow all the rules for a 2- or 3-player game, adjusting only the Add Additional Components step as follows:

Use all the base components plus 6 new relics, 16 new tiles, and 28 mission cards.

  • Use the 22 mission cards with black hashes and a value of 4 or higher, the 1 “Four Masks” mission card with blue hashes, and the 5 “Two Pairs” mission cards with blue hashes.
  • Use the six new mask (non-black) relics; mix them with the 36 relics from the base game. (Do not include the black mask relic.)
  • Use all 16 new stack tiles; mix them with the 96 stack tiles from the base game.

Black Relics and Mask Relics (3 or 4 Players)

Follow all the rules for a 3- or 4-player game, adjusting only the Add Additional Components step as follows:

Use all the base components minus 6 base relics plus 12 new relics, 16 new tiles, and 26 mission cards.

  • Use all the cards, blue or black hashes, that have a value of 4 or 6 (but not 5).
  • Remove six non-matching relics from the 36 base game relics, as in the base 2-player game.
  • Use the six new mask (non-black) relics and the six new black (non-mask relics); mix them with the 30 remaining relics from the base game. (Do not include the black mask relic.)
  • Use all 16 new stack tiles; mix them with the 96 stack tiles from the base game.

Multiple Missions (2 Players)

Follow all the rules for a 4-player game with these three adjustments:

  • Under Setup: Step 1 – Use 50 mission cards, removing only the “Four Masks” card and the blank cards.
  • Under Setup: Step 2 – Deal each player 6 cards.
  • Under Objective – The first player to complete multiple missions with values adding up to at least 8 Million wins.

A player completes a mission the same way as before: he collects the relics described by a mission card, moves to a helicopter clearing, and uses three actions to fly out of the jungle. Instead of winning immediately, the player places his explorer in front of him, reveals the mission card, and places the relics that complete the mission face up on the card. On his next turn, the player rolls the animal die but does not take actions as normal; instead, he uses his turn to re-enter the jungle on a helicopter clearing of his choice.

Define Your Own Missions

The Mission expansion for Kickstarter backers includes 5 blank cards. You can use these to replace a marked card if necessary, or you can use them to define your own missions. Perhaps something like “7 Astronomical Symbols (suns or moons)”? We’d love to hear what missions you create!

Adventurers Expansion

This expansion contains a number of tiles that can be mixed and matched to offer variable game play. Here are some of our favorite combinations:

Extra Features

Use the Lake, the Hill, and the Tunnel tiles. Add the one extra Raft, Climbing Gear, and Head Lamp with red text to the supply bag.

Treacherous Treasure

Use the two Quicksand Relic tiles and the two Poison Ivy Relic tiles, removing four relic tiles from the base game. Add the two extra medical kits with red text and two whips to the supply bag.

(+Villages & Markets) This variant works well with the village tiles. Follow the Village Only variant above for details.

Quicksand and Wild Animals (+Missions, +Wild Die)

Use the eight-sided animal die from the Wild Die expansion. Use the two Quicksand Relic tiles, removing two relic tiles from the base game. Remove also the two starting tiles with vines on them from the base game. Add two extra Quicksand tiles from the Missions expansion. Add the four whips to the supply bag.

Unknown Jungle Terrain

Jungle explorers do not always know what they will find in the jungle, and this variant adds an element of that uncertainty. Remove seven relic table tiles from the base game, and mix them together with the seven Adventurers relic table tiles. Without looking, select seven of these fourteen tiles and mix them into the stack tiles. Also without looking, remove the remaining seven from the game. (Do not add any supplies to the supply bag.)

(+Villages & Markets) This variant works well with the market tiles. Follow the Market Only variant above for details.